“The Bachelor” Racism controversy causes a concern


Micah Sanders, Managing Editor for Editorial Operations

During a recent interview with Extra, “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” host Chris Harrison is under colossal fire from fans due to his controversial defensive statements made toward Rachael Kirkconnell from season 25. Filming the interview with the first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, Harrison continued to advocate and support Kirkconnell’s past racist actions.

Breaking the color barrier, season 25 of “The Bachelor” features the first Black Bachelor, Matt James, after being on air for 19 years. To diversify their network, ABC thought this was a great plan to capitalize on, especially during the significant racial justice movement of Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, many fans predicted that this season would cause a lot of stir due to the many double standards regarding interracial dating in the Black community. 

When the season began, James started to have his eyes on Kirkconnell. Once Bachelor fans began to see this connection, they did a deep dive on Kirkconnell’s social media and found racist pictures. In the interview on Extra with Lindsay and Harrison, Lindsay brought up those allegations against Kirkconnell, including attending and being photographed at a 2018 antebellum-themed fraternity party since she had yet to respond or apologize for her actions. 

Harrison strongly defended Kirkconnell by saying, “This judge-jury-executioner thing is tearing this girl’s life apart.”

With a surprised look on Lindsay’s face from his comments, Harrison challenged her by stating that ignorance and racism were okay back then but are now socially unacceptable.

 “Is it a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021? 50 million people did that in 2018. That was the type of party that people enjoyed. We are not looking under the same lens.” He continued to use various excuses as to why another person should not condemn Kirkconnell for a mistake that she made “five years ago,” when in actuality, it was only two years ago.

After hearing all of what Harrison said, Lindsay rebutted by saying, “It’s not a good look ever because she is celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent?” Lindsay inquired. “I think there are some levels to it. One, we’ve seen ‘problematic’ contestants before, affiliated with the franchise. Rachael is not the first, so I think people have a question of ‘will the franchise speak out and say something? Will she come out and say something?’ Then you have another level of the fact that she is dating a Black man, and it adds more of a complexity to it.”  

Since the interview airing, fans of the franchise have spoken out about Harrison’s ignorant comments via social media. On Feb. 14, Harrison decided to step aside from “The Bachelor” after the controversial interview went viral. 

In an Instagram post, Harrison stated, “This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.”

After receiving the news of Harrison stepping aside, former “Bachelorette” star Tayashia Adams said that “I think after reading his apology, there are a few things that stuck out to me. It hit my heart a little bit more to know he actually meant what he was saying.” She goes on to add that Harrison stepping back was “absolutely” the right move. 

Just as the controversy continues to spark, Lindsay adds more flame to the fire. She claims that she did not like the conversation Harrison had with James about being the first Black ‘Bachelor.’ 

“Why is Matt James, a Black man, having to explain to a white man what it means to be Black?” Lindsay said. “It just was not the right way to do it.”

With the stepping aside of Harrison, who will host the “After the Final Rose” special? ABC has yet to release any information.